Three more arrested over forum fracas in Malaysia

A flare is ignited in the hall as Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) gives a speech during the Nothing To Hide 2.0 Forum in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Aug 13, 2017.
A flare is ignited in the hall as Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman and former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (not pictured) gives a speech during the Nothing To Hide 2.0 Forum in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Aug 13, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three more men have been detained in connection with the fracas at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 Forum in Shah Alam, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday (Aug 16).

He said the latest arrests bring the total of those detained to 13 as of Wednesday morning.

"We are currently focusing on investigating the ruckus at the forum. Those who caused trouble will not be spared," he told a news conference after a handing over ceremony at Bukit Aman.

He added that the organisers of the event would also be called in to have their statements recorded.

The inspector-general also slammed the organiser for blaming the police for the fracas at Sunday's event.

"Under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, the responsibility to maintain the safety of participants and the location falls on the organiser.

"It is unfair for them (the organiser) to blame the police," he said.

The country's top cop said police were stationed outside the hall, where the event was held on Sunday.

"They should have asked for our advice to ensure the security of the event.

"They should have prohibited certain items such as flares from being brought into the hall," he said.

On Sungai Besar Umno Division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos's plan to host his own version of Nothing To Hide, the IGP reminded him to abide by regulations stipulated in the PAA.

The forum featuring former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad descended into an almost free-for-all session as a slipper, a shoe, bottles and a chair were thrown and two flares were flung into the crowd at the Dewan Raja Muda Musa hall in Shah Alam.

The session with the Pakatan Harapan chairman had to be halted abruptly after about 90 minutes when he was answering a question on the 1985 Kampung Memali tragedy in Baling, Kedah.

He had been asked if he would take responsibility for the bloodshed which left 18 people, including four policemen, dead.

Dr Mahathir, who was standing on the stage, responded that police action at that time was done according to their standard operating procedures.

But even as he started speaking, a slipper was flung from the crowd towards the stage, followed by a shoe, several mineral water bottles and a chair.

The hall erupted into chaos as two flares were also thrown, one of them towards the section where members of the media were seated.